If you wanted to train specifically for a marathon or half it seems there are plenty of on-line workouts broken down by month/week. In ultras...not so much. I enjoy looking at planned schedules for marathons a few years back and then tweaking them to fit me. For ultras it mainly runs from how to finish one, discussion on what elements are best, to elite programs that are other wordly. In other words we kind of have to figure it out on our own. Which in my experience is pretty accurate. I have done similar marathon schedules as others with very similar results. This hasn't always been true in ultras.
You can run and talk with ten different people enough over a season who do ultras and no one seems to be doing the same thing outside of getting in long runs. That's a big chunk of the pie, but is that it? I just don't enjoy much over two hours anymore, so I only do 3-4 strategic runs of any length. Primarily because I like running most other days as well and hate the waxed feeling I get for a few days after runs in the 3.5+ hour range. I've tried about everything from making the long run the centerpiece of training to detailed strength/speed and the results have been surprisingly similar for trail ultras. In otherwords, I'm still trying to figure out what works for me which makes it enjoyable, but also a mystery.
Trail ultras are much different than road ultras. I seem to get my head around roads much better than any trail. Ice Age is so different because it is difficult to get into a flow. The topography is always shifting, rising, turning, to the point you almost always want to have a little juice for what's coming up. I've probably had 15 seperate conversations on how to run the first loop. It makes sense to "bank" a little time and use the wide/good trail to your advantage. I have went to the other side and I go out at training run pace, stay back, take care of myself and maintain that for the day. Every year it is the same conversation with someone I don't know out there. "What are you hoping to do." "7:xx something." What?!" I'm hoping to break 9 hours." What theory are they using? Look, 10:30 pace is an 8:45. That would be like me going out at 7:30 pace (6:15). Why would I do that?
I walk some at Ice Age, but I don't like walking. People I respect very much have broken down walking to me. I have done better recently and may walk more this year. It seems like such a waste of time...but is it? I need to try it out on some test runs this year and figure it out.
I have collected a fair amount of point to point data in my head for time/hills, but realized this last week that there is still much to learn. I hope to share some of this data as we get closer to Ice Age.